Meeting in the Middle

In sponsorship, no great partnership comes full circle without a very important contract. How do corporations and properties come to the terms of agreement?  


The Negotiation phase is one of the most critical stages when forming a successful partnership.  When you think of the meaning behind Negotiation, some may tend to lean towards the idea of a “win/loose” outcome.  This idea may indeed be relevant in the real estate market, automotive sales or company buyouts/takeovers. But when it comes to creating a long term partnership within the sponsorship realm, no matter what side of the table you are sitting on, it is imperative that the “negotiation process” is a discussion utilized to build the strong foundation needed to support the relationship for years to come.  Unlike buying a car, once the deal is made, in order for both parties to benefit, everyone needs to be moving in the same direction.  Each party is trying to gain and add value symbiotically and simultaneously.

What is so appealing about creating these long standing partnerships, especially within the Sports and Entertainment world, is that the negotiation process can become very creative.  BWA, alongside our partners and clients alike, are consistently pushing the boundaries through innovative offerings strategically specified to the brand/property/deal at hand. We know what is going to benefit not only our clients but the potential partnership as a whole.

Before entering into negotiations you must identify the needs assets and benefits of each individual party.  Contracts can be very long and complicated but the negotiation process should be fairly painless if the partnership is a good fit. Both groups should enter with realistic goals for pricing, planning and lead times. It is also imperative to have a strong understanding of contra vs. cash and what benefits, rewards or downfalls each method/offering may present itself to the corporation or property.

As a sponsor, don’t see the property or opportunity as an original offer or nothing at all.  Seek out opportunities or even create your own, utilizing the information you have. Target markets always come first! What type of impressions are relevant to your target markets?  Are there any additions would you like to make to the offerings that will align with your marketing goals? Do you see any unidentified assets that will add value for your brand?

As a sponsor seeker, It is in best practice to have all assets valued before entering into sales and especially negotiations. Only offer what is relevant to your potential sponsor.  Impressions/assets on properties or during events, if not executed smartly, can cross the line of over kill exposure, the last thing you or your sponsor wants to do is to put off fans/attendees and potential consumers with a bombardment of advertising.  Essentially this type of overexposure at a venue can devaluing both the property and brand.  Get to know your potential partner, identify those specific assets that will apply to their business model/directives and start from there.

The way we see it, is that if you can provide an offering that will help your potential partner achieve a goal, and there is no expense/downfall to you, than in good faith provide every opportunity you can, and expect the same in return. This negotiation and should also leave room for updates and allow the partnership to evolve and grow through the length of the term. Moving and shaking with the rapidly changing industry and environment is essential for long term success. If you develop the right relationship with your partner through the initial negotiation phase, your groups should have no problem moving forward successfully in this ever advancing industry, creating increased brand awareness through sponsorship.